TORONTO, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 11/19/12 — The Harper Government is helping the agricultural sector to foster a new generation of farm leaders. Member of Parliament Mark Adler (York Centre), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced at the Ontario Young Farmers Forum in Toronto today an investment for two initiatives that will help to identify opportunities and address issues facing the next generation of farmers.
“Our Government’s top priority remains the economy, and Canada’s agriculture industry plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping our economy strong,” said MP Adler. “We are committed to providing new and young farmers with the educational and leadership development opportunities they need to give them a competitive advantage for the future.”
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) will receive an investment of $202,000 to conduct an in-depth assessment of current and past agricultural leadership programming to identify where gaps exist and find the best solutions for addressing those gaps. This major review will build on past agricultural leadership programming, such as the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP), and on results from research and pilot projects conducted by the ROI to help them develop a comprehensive strategy that will set the direction for future agricultural leadership programming in Ontario.
“We are delighted that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is recognizing the importance of investing in the future direction of leadership development through this investment,” said Rob Black, Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Ontario Institute. “This project provides ROI with the opportunity to undertake a full review of the long-running AALP to identify necessary changes to both content and delivery methodologies in order to achieve the greatest impact for the best cost, provide recruiting techniques for future program participants, and provide an estimate of the macro-economic benefit of the program to agriculture and the rural industry.”
The Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario (JFAO) has received an investment of $53,500 to assess issues facing new farmers in the province. This project will look at barriers that restrict the access of new entrants to farming as well as the opportunities that exist for this key demographic group. A steering committee made up of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, FarmStart, TD Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal, and 4-H Ontario provides guidance for this study. Interim results from this study are being presented at the Ontario Young Farmers Forum.
“This investment has allowed the JFAO the ability to reach out to new farm entrants and understand the challenges and opportunities they face,” says Sarah McLaren, President of the JFAO. “New entrants will benefit from the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada by creating a roadmap for the future of the next generation of farm entrepreneurs.”
This Harper Government investment is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Ontario, the regional component of CAAP is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC).